How to quit smoking and what to expect
Quitting smoking is also known as smoking cessation. Tobacco smoke contains nicotine, a highly addictive substance produced by the tobacco plant. The effects of nicotine withdrawal often make it difficult to quit smoking.
Despite the difficulties in quitting, most adult cigarette smokers want to quit. In 2015, 68% of adult smokers wanted to quit. Over 50% of adult smokers have attempted to quit in the past year. In 2018, 55.1% of adult smokers said they had tried to quit in the past year, but less than 10% of adult smokers successfully quit.
Quitting smoking can lead to nicotine withdrawal symptoms such as cravings, anxiety, depression, and weight gain. Counselling and medication have been shown to help you quit smoking.
Reasons to quit smoking
Quitting smoking is the perfect gift to give yourself. It improves your overall well-being in ways you can’t imagine. Here are some reasons to consider quitting smoking:
- You will be able to enjoy your food better as your taste and smell may improve.
- Training to stay fit becomes easier.
- You no longer have to run around to make sure you’ve had enough cigarettes.
- You will smell better and fresher.
- Regardless of your gender, your fertility level will improve and if you are the person carrying the pregnancy, your chances of having a healthy pregnancy are higher.
- You will save money that would normally be spent on smoking for other things.
- You will no longer endanger the life and health of those around you with secondhand smoke.
- Your children will be less likely to develop respiratory disorders like bronchitis, pneumonia and asthma.
- You’ll reduce your risk of heart attack, stroke, lung cancer, and cancer of the mouth, throat, oesophagus, and bladder.
What to expect when trying to quit smoking
The substance that is responsible for addiction to smoking is nicotine. It is the reason why you may find it difficult to stop smoking because your mind and body are affected. Some things to expect during withdrawal are:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Impaired memory
- Difficulty sleeping
- Depressed mood
- Increased desire to smoke
- Desire to eat
Creating a plan to quit smoking
Before attempting to quit smoking, you need to have a plan. For your plan to be successful, it should:
- Include practical strategies that will help you to be focused and encouraged to quit
- Note challenges you will face, including how to resolve them
- Ensure you reach your end goal, which is to quit smoking
The following steps will help you to easily create your practical quit plan.
List the reasons for quitting
Your reasons for quitting may be different from those of the other person. Making a list will help you visualize why you want to leave. Make sure the list is in a place where you see it all the time. Whenever you feel the urge to smoke, consult your inspiration list.
Choose a day to quit
Try not to extend your target quit day. Some smokers choose a date within two weeks to quit. This gives you enough space for preparation. Before you pick a date, make sure it’s a day you won’t be stressed enough to want to smoke. When you have chosen this day, write it down and stick it somewhere, you will see it again and again.
Get ready for the day
Tell your close friends and family about your decision to quit smoking. Tell them how they can help you when you need it. Throw away cigarettes, matches, ashtrays and lighters that remind you to smoke. It can also help keep your home, car or office clean so you don’t smell cigarette smoke.
Stick to it
Sticking to the plan you have created can be a bit difficult considering the presence of nicotine. However, medications and lifestyle changes can help you get through this stage.
You can find many quit smoking medications over the counter. It would be best if you had them on hand before you started on your journey to quitting smoking. Still, trying other strategies helps because you can’t rely on drugs alone. Get additional support from wellness experts on DiagnoStar Health.